After several months of research and several weeks of debate, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recently released two official position statements regarding COVID-19 and ventilation.
Both position statements give the Canadian public a much clearer picture of how the new novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, may be transmitted via ventilation systems and also what may help to reduce the risk of such transmission.
Learning that COVID-19 can spread through HVAC systems such as air conditioning and heating units is scary to hear.
There is, however, a bright spot in this dark news – rarely do we get a risk assessment that comes already accompanied with recommendations for remedies. In this case, modern indoor air quality technology has already advanced to the point where we can do a lot in order to reduce the risk of spreading or catching COVID-19.
In this post, we will learn how cutting edge indoor air quality helps reduce your risk of encountering infectious airborne coronavirus droplets.
Understanding ASHRAE’s New Position Statements
In early April, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) pre-published a research study confirming that the first cases of COVID-19 were induced by airborne transmission (you can learn more about this research study in our previous blog post here).
While terrifying, it is important to remember that knowledge is power. We can’t fight what we don’t understand. The more we know about how coronavirus spreads, the more protections we can put into place to stop it from spreading.
The ASHRAE position statement is based on not just this CDC study, but several other research studies that have looked at the previous SARS outbreak of 2003 and other similar outbreaks.
What We Have Learned From ASHRAE’s COVID-19 Research Study:
- Making changes to heating, air conditioning and ventilation can reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 airborne transmission.
- Specifically, strategic ventilation and filtration changes can reduce the threat of airborne exposure.
- Disabling any component of a working HVAC system is unwise and can lead to thermal stress that impairs immune system response and COVID-19 resistance.
What Ventilation and Air Filtration Changes Should You Be Making?
The next natural question many of our customers have had is, of course, what changes to HVAC ventilation and air filtration should be made to reduce the risk of encountering infectious SARS-CoV-2 droplets?
In answering this question, we are lucky to have decades of research to draw from in order to identify the best and most appropriate tools to use.
Install a Heat Recovery Ventilator
If you are not yet familiar with the heat recovery ventilator, these devices are now required for all new building construction within the greater Toronto area. If you live in Hamilton, Canada, as well as the surrounding areas, this would include you! Contact Clean Air Solutions to install a Heat Recovery Ventilator today!
Heat recovery ventilators eliminate concerns about new airtight building construction standards that prevent structures, whether homes or workplaces, from “breathing” naturally.
As the ASHRAE statements explain, when a building cannot breathe, the concentration of infectious droplets can quickly build up within a space.
Ventilation, done poorly, can create conditions ripe for the new novel coronavirus to spread, but when ventilation is managed well, it can become an essential aid to reducing the risk of infection.
Heat recovery ventilators easily retrofit to work with any existing central ducted HVAC system, steadily removing stale and toxic air while ensuring a continual supply of fresh oxygenated air.
As a side perk, HRV systems, as they are commonly called, also help reduce your energy costs by recycling energy that would otherwise be wasted.
Add a HEPA Air Filtration System
HEPA is an acronym that stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Air.” The HEPA filter was first developed during the second World War. The first HEPA filters were actually masks!
These masks had dense multi-layer filters that kept scientists working on the atomic bomb from breathing in stray radioactive particles.
Today, even with all the innovation we have seen over the last several decades, HEPA filters remain the gold standard in air filtration.
HEPA filters work to remove solid particles as small as 1/100th the size of a single hair on your head.
This is important because lighter SARS-CoV-2 airborne droplets can cling to tiny solids and enter ventilation systems to travel longer distances.
When a HEPA filter traps these tiny solids, it traps the infectious droplets attached to them.
Several types of HEPA filtration systems are available for use in both central ducted spaces and non-ducted spaces.
Purify Your Air with Ultraviolet Light
Ultraviolet light is getting its day in the sun (so to speak) for its powerful impact on airborne liquids or gases, including infectious SARS-CoV-2 droplets.
UV-C light is sufficiently powerful to damage the protective membrane that surrounds each coronavirus droplet. When this membrane gets damaged, the RNA contained within cannot replicate to infect more people.
There are several ways to use UV-C air purifiers to purify the air for both central ducted HVAC systems and non-ducted spaces.
Have Your HVAC Air Duct System Professionally Cleaned
An indoor air duct cleaning is like hitting the “reset” button on your indoor air quality.
This type of deep professional-grade cleaning goes into your air ducts and removes all trapped toxins, whether solid (particulate), liquid or gaseous.
The service cleans out the ducts using a powerful negative pressure vacuum and then follows that up with a deodorizing and sanitizing treatment.
If anyone in your family is in the high-risk category for vulnerability to COVID-19, having a professional indoor air duct cleaning offers an extra layer of protection.
When the indoor air you are breathing is cleaner, your immune system doesn’t have to work so hard to combat other airborne threats that could inadvertently lower your resistance to COVID-19.
If you are looking for indoor air duct cleaning in Hamilton, Ontario or the surrounding areas (including Brantford, Burlington, Oakville etc.), contact us at Clean Air Solutions in Hamilton today!
Contact Clean Air Solutions Hamilton
We remain open to serve you safely with multiple contact-less options during this difficult time.
Right now and through June 30, 2020, get a 10 percent discount off of any of our three popular indoor air duct cleaning packages.
Give us a call at 1-905-549-2470 or visit us online to ensure that your air ducts are clean and ready to protect you from harmful airborne viruses.